Witness: Lamido Authorised Payment for Non-existent Contracts

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Alex Enumah in Abuja

Michael Wetkas, a prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of former Governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido, wednesday told a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja that the former governor authorised the payment of various sums of money into the Access Bank account of Dantata and Sawoe Construction Company for non-existent contracts.

According to the witness, who is an operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), investigations into the alleged crime started in 2007 and span through 2015.

Lamido and his two sons, Aminu and Mustapha are being prosecuted by the federal government on a 27 counts bordering on the abuse of office and money laundering.

Led in evidence by the prosecuting counsel Chile Okoroma, Wetkas told Justice Adeniyi Ademola that his investigating team visited Dantata and Sawoe Construction Company to investigate the purported contracts.

He disclosed that a manager of the construction company, Mr. Sylvester Agoha, who had earlier agreed to have supervised the execution of the contracts later denied knowledge of any of the contracts, saying that he was only invited to Dantata’s company to sign the contracts papers.

Wetkas further told the court that his investigation had revealed that Lamido and his sons companies; Speeds International Limited, Bamaina Holding Company and Gada Company had allegedly supplied bitumen, iron rods and diesel to the Dantata Yard in Kano.

He said a member of his investigating team; Mr. Kabiru Mohammed had to visit the Kano yard office of the company for the purpose of verifying the alleged supplies of those items to the company.

The witness however, told the court that there investigation revealed that their was no such transaction, adding that the said companies were unknown to the Kano Yard Office.

Wetkas said: “The position of the investigation was that such contracts never existed and such items were never delivered.
“But there were payments made by the Jigawa state government into the Access Bank Plc account of Dantata and Sawoe Construction Company between 2008 and 2009.

The witness then reeled out several sums of monies paid at different times into the said account.
“On May 16, 2008, there was payment of N164 million in to the Access Bank Plc account belonging to Dantata and Sawoe.
“On May 23, 2008, N8. 9 million was also paid into the company’s account.

“On July 13, 2009, the sum of N386.7 million was paid into Dantata’s account.”

According to Wetkas, a forensic report from the team’s investigation revealed that transactions for the contracts were entered in the construction company’s records between 2014 and 2015 instead of 2010 and 2013 when the contracts were allegedly executed.

The matter was however adjourned to today, for continuation of the trial.